Category Archives: Foodies

Food challenge: empire chicken and mince beef Wellington

Last week I began my food challenge with Empire Chicken, from Jamie’s Great Britain book. It had lots of potential, roast chicken with an Indian marijnade, Bombay potatoes and a curry sauce made from the juice of the chicken.

It almost worked, but not quite. The chicken was moist, the Bombay potatoes lovingly spiced but the gravy, for me the bit of the dish I was most looking forward to, just failed to deliver. Almost all of the pint of stock had evaporated and as such I was left to improvise.

I ended up with a curried gravy, but not the chicken stock thick sauce I was excited to taste. The whole thing has potential, I’ll have to figure out what went wrong and try again another time.

This week we revisit another Jamie Oliver book, this time Ministry of Food. Flicking through on Sunday morning in a somewhat slightly hungover state, I was keen to find something that wouldn’t stretch me too far yet still come under the banner of something I’ve not tried to make before.
I landed on a page entitled Minced Beef Wellington. Bingo.

I’ve been planning on making something like this before and if you’ve not tried to put this together yourself I really think you should give it a whirl. It takes an hour to cook, and roughly half hour prep and makes an interesting change to the usual mince recipes you have, week in week out!
With carrots, potato, peas and celery all wrapped up in crisp puff pastry it’s a little bit like biting into a Cornish pasty. Yum!

The book recommend serving with greens or mash potato, but instead I decided to put together some creamed leeks which complimented the star of the show perfectly.

As a bonus there is plenty leftover for tomorrow’s lunch. Huzzah!

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Minty lamb burger salad

I managed to begin the food challenge this week, cooking something brand new from Jamie’s Great Britain book which has been sitting tantalisingly on my shelf since Christmas, not unloved but certainly unexplored.

However, first I want to quickly scribble down the lunch that came not from a book but instead from my brainbox. Huzzah, impromptu creative cooking with leftover bits in the kitcken! I present to you, my very delicious, Minty Lamb Burger Salad.

(serves 2 and a half)

– 2 seasoned lamb burgers cooked in a pan. with a splosh of olive oil and a handful of fresh rosemarijn.
– 1 Romain lettuce, cut up into caesar salad sized pieces.
– 1 small red onion, finely choppy chopped.
– 1 manly fistful of fresh mint.
– 2 soft boiled eggs
– a smidgen of cheese shavings.

Cook the burgers according to pan directions on the packet (about 8 minutes either side) and at the same time soft boil two eggs. Chuck the lettuce, onion and mint in a bowl and toss. Add some olive oil and a chef’s pinch of sea salt (or if you’re feeling naughty the oil and juice from the burger pan).

Divide the salad between the plates and slice the burgers into strips, dividing between the plates and then add the fine cheesy shavings.

Finally place the soft boiled egg on top and slice gently in the middle so that the yummy yolk runs out all over the salad.

Serve with Ben Howard on your iPod.

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Inspired food shenanigans

Life has a funny way of creeping up on you.

Yesterday I felt my age. Actually that’s not true; what I actually felt was my back when I lifted a table down the stairs and into my car. Gone are the days whence I could lift bulky objects with gay abandon here there and everywhere without a care in the world. From here on in it’s all about lavender-scented baths and slippers without cartoon characters adorning the tops.

Still, that’s not what I wanted to talk about today, I’m just having a bit of a moan because you know what, I’m old enough to do that too. So yes, onwards to the point of this entry. Food and inspiration.

I was looking at MeYouCoffee the other morning trying to force a post and that, my friends, is not what I was wishing for when I opened this blog. So instead I opened up the Reader and caught up on some posts I follow and have more than likely missed. This one from Silvs caught my eye, and in particular the words “recipe books gathering dust in the corner“.

Those words instantly made me think about my own collection of books sitting on the kitchen counter, 2 of which I know I’ve never even used to cook. This is shocking behaviour and needs fixing, and herein lies my inspired challenge.

Starting from this weekend I shall cook at least 2 recipes I’ve never tried from each of my books every week.  I’d like to say “one new recipe a day for a month” because frankly that sounds awesome, but I know how daunting (not to mention, expensive) a task that would be, so for now let’s stick with 2 a week.

I shall of course be keeping you up to date with the chosen recipe, the book from where it came and the result.


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Bored of cereal now.
Can someone pass me that loaf of bread?
Yeah, that one. The one next to the cheese.
Fuckit, pass me the cheese too.
And the butter.
Give it. Give it. Give it!

There will be cereal

I’ve noticed that I’ve been eating a hell of a lot more junk food lately.
Now I’m not saying that’s your fault, but it certainly needs to be addressed. I need to be disciplined.
Action needs taking against the consumption of white bread, of crisps and of cheese. You know you’re in trouble when you look back at a fortnights worth of munching and realise that you quite possibly have eaten cheese in some form or another every single day.

So today there will be a weigh in. Something I don’t do very often, because, well, I don’t care for it. I know I’m heavy. One of my legs weighs roughly the same as a Justin Bieber, so I’m not going to learn anything by weighing myself every day; in fact, I don’t think anyone gains anything from doing that. However, when you start to feel like a sloth then something needs to be done and so today there will be a weigh in and because I’m of the geeky variety, I’ll be using Wii Fit to track my progress.

I’ve always disagreed with Wii Fit’s decision to call almost anyone with an ounce of body fat MORBIDLY OBESE, and thankfully I have fairly thick skin (actually, my skin is the same density as crete paper) but sticks and stones and all that. What Wii Fit does do well, is the ability to give me a pretty graph that I can look at whilst eating an eclair.

So there will be a weigh in. There will also be cereal. The best way for me to ignore my biggest enemies (namely bread, cheese, myself and crisps) is to cut out the packed lunch mentality engrained in me since school and to ignore those wicked vices,turning instead to the delights of cereal. Lovely, lovely, cheesy cereal.

Wish me luck.

You tasty fucker.
In your coat made from bread and some butter.
Why must you look at me with those come-to-bed-eyes
that glint and that wink that just makes me die.

You know I love you.

So why must I hide you away from my heart
when all that I want is to take you apart,
with my teeth and my jaws working in tandem.
Oh yeah, the fat, the cholesterol and all that calcium.

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